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Domestic Violence Charge
Having a domestic violence charge can trigger strong emotions. It’s common to feel betrayed by your accuser and to believe the facts have been twisted against you. You may even feel the need to talk to your accuser to try to sort things out, to apologize for behavior you’re ashamed of, or to convince your accuser to drop the charges.
However, that would be a bad idea. In virtually all cases, you should not try to speak with your accuser after a domestic violence charge. Doing so could expose you to additional criminal liability, including charges of intimidation of a witness and violation of a domestic violence restraining order.
The Broad Reach of California Domestic Violence Laws
California law takes domestic violence seriously. The California Penal Code treats a wide range of conduct as domestic violence. Various other laws create strong protections for alleged victims of domestic violence, such as by streamlining the process of obtaining domestic violence restraining orders. As a result, you may find yourself charged with domestic violence and subject to a restraining order arising out of a situation that you never thought of as domestic violence, or that you think has been falsely presented to or misinterpreted by the authorities.
In California, domestic violence charges and issuance of restraining orders can stem from:
- Causing any physical injury, no matter how slight, to a spouse, parent, child, or other person you live with
- Using force or violence against an intimate partner, whether or not you are in a relationship
- Neglecting, endangering, or abusing a child or elderly person in your care
- Harassing, threatening, or stalking a spouse, family member, intimate partner, or someone you live with
- Using the internet to harm a spouse or intimate partner, such as by posting intimate photos or videos, also known as “revenge porn”
This is only a partial list of ways that a domestic violence charge can arise in California. The point is, California’s domestic violence laws cover a broad range of conduct. Always contact an experienced domestic violence criminal defense lawyer immediately if you face domestic violence charges, even ones you think were filed by mistake or because of a misunderstanding.
Why You Should Not Contact Your Domestic Violence Accuser
No matter what you think about the domestic violence charges you face, resist the urge to contact your accuser. That won’t help your situation and can only cause you more problems. Here’s why.
You Could Violate a Restraining Order
A domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is an order from a California court designed to protect a person from the sort of abuse and threats that can constitute domestic violence. A DVRO is not a criminal charge, but it often goes hand-in-hand with criminal domestic violence charges. So, if you face a domestic violence charge, there’s a good chance you are also currently subject to a DVRO (whether you know it or not).
DVROs virtually always include provisions barring you from having contact from your accuser or establishing specific parameters for that contact. Any effort you make to reach out to your domestic violence accuser, therefore, would probably risk violating a DVRO, which is illegal and can subject you to criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. A single violation of a DVRO is a misdemeanor in California, but second and subsequent violations could expose you to prosecution for a felony.
You Could Risk a Witness Intimidation Charge
Once domestic violence charges have been filed, your accuser is treated as a crime victim and becomes a potential state witness against you. As a result, any attempt on your part to dissuade or interfere with your accuser’s involvement in the case risks violating California’s witness intimidation statute. The following acts, for example, could expose you witness intimidation charges punishable by fines and imprisonment:
- Trying to talk the accuser out of testifying against you
- Threatening your accuser with consequences for testifying against you
- Trying to coerce, intimidate, or bribe your accuser into changing or recanting the accusation
- Engaging in any act of physical force or violence against your accuser
If you face domestic violence charges, virtually any contact you have with your accuser holds the potential to spark a prosecutor’s interest in charging you with witness intimidation. Consult with an experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney before putting your rights at further risk.
You Could Face New Domestic Violence Charges
As we said at the outset, domestic violence crimes typically involve heightened emotions. Speaking with your accuser risks adding fuel to the emotional fire and could lead to you losing your cool. That, in turn, could all-too-easily result in new accusations of domestic violence by your accuser, more charges for you to defend, and more severe potential consequences if you are convicted.
We understand the difficulty of the situation you face. In many domestic violence cases, the accuser is someone close to you. You might feel like you have the right to speak with them and straighten things out. But the fact is, once domestic violence charges have been filed against you, your relationship with that person has changed. Interactions that might once have seemed in-bounds are now out-of-bounds and carry potentially severe consequences for you.
Speak With an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer From Dod Law, APC
Do not risk your livelihood, freedom, and future by speaking with your domestic violence accuser. If you face charges stemming from domestic violence, the only person you should speak with about them is a skilled domestic violence criminal defense attorney.
Dod Law, APC, represents individuals like you throughout the greater San Diego region who face domestic violence charges. Our team has over 18 years of experience helping clients navigate the stressful and emotionally challenging process of responding to domestic violence allegations. We fight to protect your rights and to shield you from potential consequences of a domestic violence conviction.
Contact us immediately for a free case evaluation if you or someone you love faces domestic violence charges. You can reach us by calling (619) 814-5110 or filling out our contact form.